Title: The Iron Trial
Author: Cassandra Clare & Holly Black
Genre: MG Fantasy
Series: Magisterium (Book #1)
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Format: Audio Book, 299 Pages
ISBN-10: 0545522250 (Scholastic)
ISBN-13: 978-0545522250 (Scholastic)
Reviewed by: Bridget
Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.
Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.
All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.
So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing.
Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.
The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .
Quick & Dirty: Extremely entertaining start to what I’m sure is going to be a great series. It is set in a dark world and brimming with magic, adventure, and fun characters!
Opening Sentence: From a distance, the man struggling up the white face of the glacier might have looked like an ant crawling slowly up the side of a dinner plate.
Callum Hunt has been told his entire life that mages are evil and that if he is ever to attend the Magisterium he will be tortured. Growing up his father taught that magic is bad and that it’s the reason his mother is dead. But at the age of 12 anyone that possesses magic has to attend the Iron Trials. Most kids would do anything to pass and get into the Magisterium, but Callum wants nothing more than to fail. He does his best to do just that, but unfortunately for him he ends up getting into the Magisterium anyways.
Callum soon discovers that not everything his father taught him was true. Sure there are some interesting things that take place at the Magisterium, but for the most part Callum is really enjoying his time there. For the first time in his life he has true friends and learning magic has been a lot more fun than he expected. But the more Callum learns the more he comes to realize that there is a lot about his past that he doesn’t know and some that he wishes he would have never discovered!
Callum is a really great character that was easy to like. He is a little goofy and totally awkward at times, but I loved that about him. One of the things I liked best is that for the most part he is fairly average so you don’t expect him to do anything extraordinary, but you find yourself rooting for him when he does. The fact that he is just a normal teenager also makes it easier to relate with him. He has the same insecurities that all of us have had at one point or another, and it made him feel so much more realistic. While he definitely grew in the story he still has a lot of growing up to do, and I am excited to see where his story goes next!
Aaron and Tamara become Callum’s closest friends while at school. Aaron is the nicest person and he is one of those people that everyone likes. He is very talented at pretty much everything, but he isn’t cocky about it in anyway. As his story unfolds you learn to admire him even more because his past isn’t a happy one. Then there is Tamara, she grew up with extremely strict parents that expected a lot. She is very intelligent and driven, but she is also very uptight and snotty at times. At first I didn’t particularly like her, but as the story progresses I came to understand and respect her. The friendship that these three developed was really great and a huge part of the book. They make a wonderful team together, and I can’t wait to go on more adventures with them in the future books.
The Iron Trials is a fun story full of adventure, action, and magic. It has a fantastic dark setting that is unique and very intriguing. The whole cast of characters were fun and interesting to get to know. The pacing was done perfectly and the plot had some great twists that I wasn’t expecting at all. There was great humor laced throughout the book, and there was also tons of suspenseful moments. I did listen to the audio version of this book and I thought that the narrator did a wonderful job. I would highly recommend listening to this if you are a fan of audio books. I personally think that fans of Harry Potter will enjoy this series. The story is completely different, but it has a similar feel to it that just reminded me of HP. I am personally a big fan of both Clare and Black so I was excited when I heard that they were writing a middle grade series together and suffice to say I was not disappointed. I can’t wait to get my hand on the next book to see where they take the story. I would highly recommend this to anyone that is looking for a fun middle grade book!
“You are about to enter the halls of the Magisterium,” he said. “For some of you, this may be the fulfillment of a dream. For others, we hope it may be the beginning of one. To all of you, I say, the Magisterium exists here for your own safety. You have a great power, and without training, that power is dangerous. Here, we will help you to learn control and teach you about the great history of mages like yourself, dating back through time. Each of you has a unique destiny, one outside the normal path you might have walked, one you will find here. You may have guessed this when you saw the first stirrings of your power. But as you stand at the entrance to the mountain, I imagine at least a few of you are wondering just what you’ve gotten yourselves into.”
Some of the kids laughed self-consciously.
“Long ago, in the very beginning, the first mages wondered much the same thing. Intrigued by the teachings of the alchemists, particularly Paracelsus, they sought to explore elemental magic. They had limited success, until one alchemist realized that his young son was able to easily do the same exercises with which he struggled. The mages discovered that magic could be performed by those with an inborn power and was performed best by the young. After that, the mages found new students to teach and to learn from, seeking all over Europe for children with power. Very few have it, perhaps one in twenty-five thousand, but the mages gathered up those they could and began the first school of magic. Along the way, they heard stories of untrained boys and girls who had set fire to houses and burned in the flames, who had drowned in rainstorms, or had been drawn up into tornados or pulled down into sinkholes. With teaching, the mages learned to walk through lava unscathed, to explore the deepest parts of the sea without an oxygen tank, even to fly.”
1. The Iron Trial
2. The Copper Gauntlet (September 1, 2015)
FTC Advisory: Scholastic provided me with a copy of The Iron Trial. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.